How to Teach Your Cat to Talkhttps://i1.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/lb70.jpg?fit=1080%2C1350&ssl=110801350Francine WitteFrancine Wittehttps://barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Francine-Witte.jpg
First thing, show him the internet. Show him the human babies and the huskies who know how to say, “I love you.” Tell your cat you doubt his affection, and you need to hear the words.
Next, place him in front of the fish tank. Explain that the fish mouths opening and closing is what talking looks like, and what it looks like can be more important than the words.
Compare him to the goldfish. Tell him the goldfish is stuck inside the goldfish bowl, and that if the goldfish had the same freedom of movement as him, it would have been able to warn you about your husband.
Pinch your cat’s mouth between your fingers. Tell him that this, too, is what talking looks like. Ask if he remembers your husband doing this to you.
Place his little cat paws against your throat. You don’t like anything touching your throat, but get over it. Your husband is hundreds of miles from here. Make sounds so that your cat can feel the vibrations. Tell him that this is what talking will feel like. Compare it to how the house felt, shaking like a fist.
If all else fails, hide the cat food until he learns to ask for it. Pretend you don’t see his little cat body stretched out on the floor, helpless until the neighbors come, curious after not seeing him for days, and then him ending up in the emergency room.
Tell your cat it’s up to him to talk because really no one can give you any help unless you learn to ask.
Francine Witte is the author of four poetry chapbooks and two full-length collections, Café Crazy and The Theory of Flesh from Kelsay Books. Her flash fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologized in the most recent New Micro (W.W. Norton) Her novella-in-flash, The Way of the Wind has just been published by Ad Hoc Fiction, and her full-length collection of flash fiction, Dressed All Wrong for This was recently published by Blue Light Press. She lives in New York City.